It’s easy for a big splashy patio to catch anyone’s attention with sweeping vistas and multi-tiered design. We love the large-scale “wow” projects, complete with winding walkways and bubbling water features, but when a space is particularly small, the time spent on minute details shines through. For Vinny Coppola and the team at Stone & Wood Hardscapes LLC, it’s that eye for detail that gets them excited about projects, and it’s what won them their first HARDSCAPE HERO award in April.

Vinny has been in the hardscaping industry for a decade, starting out building fences and decks as a teenager before going to work for a friend’s hardscaping business in 2013. He started Stone & Wood about four years ago, having decided he wanted to strike out on his own. Now he and his small team focus on transforming outdoor spaces into works of art with their detailed hardscape work. His winning project was an opportunity to show everyone how much craftsmanship can be packed into a small space.

When a patio is only about 500 square feet, there’s nowhere to hide mistakes. Vinny and his team knew they had to be on their A game with this project, and were excited to show off their chops. The homeowner brought him a lot of inspiration for the patio of her dreams, and Vinny worked closely with her to draw up the plans to match her vision. The space is divided into two distinct “rooms” that step up from a previously installed patio. One room is a sitting space covered by a pergola, and the other is a fire pit. Vinny had the idea to build a walkway connecting the fire feature to the overall space, and they landed on Belgian Cobble as the perfect paver to make the path really pop. 

Vinny’s sales rep Jim Steve visited the site to talk to the homeowner about Belgard products, and Vinny recalls what an awesome boon this was, saying, “Having Jim there made everything so much smoother. He was able to help the homeowner feel confident about her decisions and just added that extra personal touch having a Belgard rep there.” 

When the job met challenges, Vinny drew on the relationship he had developed with Jim to overcome those hurdles. They ended up with pallets of pavers from two different runs and Vinny was worried about there being slight color variations. “Because the space is so small you notice any small inconsistencies,” says Vinny, “and so Jim worked with me to track down block that matched the run of our first pallet. The homeowner was so happy with the end result it really made all the difference.”

That working relationship is one of the many reasons Vinny always pushes the Belgard product. “I always try and steer my clients toward Belgard’s pavers,” says Vinny, “I know I can get them quickly, the quality is unmatched and the support I get from them is incredible.” In particular, he is a big fan of the homeowner packages offered through the Contractor Club. “For me, it’s a no-brainer,” he continues, “I’ve gotten seven jobs on a single street from the mailers Belgard sends out on my behalf.” 

Vinny says a project’s value is solidified in the small touches. “My favorite part of this job is the 45-degree angle of the pavers under the pergola. Having those Dimensions pavers in the middle at a diagonal framed by the Brooklyn accent pieces turns that simple rectangular patio into something special.” His advice to anyone getting started in the industry is to take your time. “Make sure things are right the first time and you won’t be returning to the site to fix things. When I was making the walkway on this job I spent a lot of time with those naturally shaped Belgian pavers, just getting the orientation right and making it feel balanced while still kind of random. I learned a lot just from going slow and making sure things looked good and it paid dividends.” 

That attention to detail is what caught everyone’s eye with this project, and we can’t wait to see the small touches Vinny and the crew at Stony & Wood continue to work into their future projects.


Want to be a Belgard Hardscape Hero? Submit your project here or talk to your sales rep. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see more beautiful photos from Hardscape Hero winners.

The Crew:

Matthew Rodgers

Eric Parks

The following Belgard products were used in this project:

Belgian Cobble – Midnight

Brooklyn 3×9 – Midnight

Dimensions 12 – Durafusion Cheswick

Marina Coping – Midnight